path vs rads

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2013
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Hey guys im an MS4, who is unsure of which specialty to pick between path or rads

Im currently leaning toward pathology because i enjoy histology(im a visual person) and being able to interpret the slides. I rotated in surgical pathology and i wasnt necessarily a fan of grossing specimen but i was able to just do them and the anticipation of what would it look like on the slide next day made me keep going at it. i thrive in an environment where i get to have time and space to introspect, which i believe is an unique part of pathology. I also generally like learning about diseases so even though i may get overwhelmed by the amount of studying during residency, i believe i will be able to get through it.

A lot of times, i feel pretty confident about applying to pathology, but sometimes i wonder if i should apply to radiology because to be honest, i like looking at radiographs a little more than reading slides. They are cooler to look at. Also, some of the reasons im applying to path would also apply to radiology (visual, like to study pathophysiology). But from reading student doc, to be a successful radiologist, it seems like you generally need to be a quick person. For example, a lot of my colleagues, who are applying to radiology, are quick thinkers and often are first or second out of 200 to turn in their test. On the other hand i tend to need to spend a lot more time so most of the times i end up turning in exams at the opposite end. So even though i like radiographs more than slides, because job has to be combo of interest and talent, i feel like i will be better off applying to path because of that liking to take my time. Just wanted to ask you radiologists if this sounds like a semi-wise decision! Am i making a too big deal out of the being quick thing? Plz let me know! Thanks in advance.

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postbacpremed87

7+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2011
2,049
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Medical Student
Hey guys im an MS4, who is unsure of which specialty to pick between path or rads

Im currently leaning toward pathology because i enjoy histology(im a visual person) and being able to interpret the slides. I rotated in surgical pathology and i wasnt necessarily a fan of grossing specimen but i was able to just do them and the anticipation of what would it look like on the slide next day made me keep going at it. i thrive in an environment where i get to have time and space to introspect, which i believe is an unique part of pathology. I also generally like learning about diseases so even though i may get overwhelmed by the amount of studying during residency, i believe i will be able to get through it.

A lot of times, i feel pretty confident about applying to pathology, but sometimes i wonder if i should apply to radiology because to be honest, i like looking at radiographs a little more than reading slides. They are cooler to look at. Also, some of the reasons im applying to path would also apply to radiology (visual, like to study pathophysiology). But from reading student doc, to be a successful radiologist, it seems like you generally need to be a quick person. For example, a lot of my colleagues, who are applying to radiology, are quick thinkers and often are first or second out of 200 to turn in their test. On the other hand i tend to need to spend a lot more time so most of the times i end up turning in exams at the opposite end. So even though i like radiographs more than slides, because job has to be combo of interest and talent, i feel like i will be better off applying to path because of that liking to take my time. Just wanted to ask you radiologists if this sounds like a semi-wise decision! Am i making a too big deal out of the being quick thing? Plz let me know! Thanks in advance.

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I too had interest in Pathology, but I had an interest in being employed a whole lot more.
 
R

Radz123

I think you should ask a similar question on the pathology boards because I just don't know how heavy their workload is/how important quick turnaround time is to their specialty. The pathologists at my institution often appear frazzled and make vague references to work overload leading me to believe they too are being asked to shoulder high volume at a quicker pace.

For Radiology, even if you're a slower worker you can be trained to take on a high volume (though you may be miserable). Also there are slower paced positions available in academic centers that would better fit your personality.

Good luck.
 

irwarrior

10+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2008
260
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The one thing to consider is that there is a bit more patient interaction and procedural aspect of radiology. This includes breast biopsies and diagnostic studies on mammography. During IR there is a considerable amount of patient interactions and long hours along with complex procedures. Some of the body sections do their own biopsies, abdominal drains, ablations etc. During neuroradiology you may be asked to perform LPs, myelograms, epidurals etc. MSK radiologists may do bone biopsies, joint injections, arthrograms etc. So, there is a considerable amount of procedural aspect of radiology ( even on the non IR rotations) that may not be encountered in pathology.
 

TheThirdLevel

7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2010
713
204
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Medical Student
The one thing to consider is that there is a bit more patient interaction and procedural aspect of radiology. This includes breast biopsies and diagnostic studies on mammography. During IR there is a considerable amount of patient interactions and long hours along with complex procedures. Some of the body sections do their own biopsies, abdominal drains, ablations etc. During neuroradiology you may be asked to perform LPs, myelograms, epidurals etc. MSK radiologists may do bone biopsies, joint injections, arthrograms etc. So, there is a considerable amount of procedural aspect of radiology ( even on the non IR rotations) that may not be encountered in pathology.
Is there a spectrum of how much procedures vs. reading are common in academics or PP? I assume such things are negotiated under the terms of the contract. Would you be more marketable if you were willing/able to do more subspecialty procedures (Neuro, Body, MSK)?
 

irwarrior

10+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2008
260
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It is quite variable. A person who can also do light "IR" is more marketable vs someone who can not do that and many small practices will require radiology physicians do everything. Some, large radiology groups will be a bit more subspecialiezed and will have dedicated mamographers and IR. The ability to do procedures will make you less of a commodity and potentially reduce inroads by large radiology corporations such as Imaging Advantage
 

TheThirdLevel

7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2010
713
204
Status
Medical Student
It is quite variable. A person who can also do light "IR" is more marketable vs someone who can not do that and many small practices will require radiology physicians do everything. Some, large radiology groups will be a bit more subspecialiezed and will have dedicated mamographers and IR. The ability to do procedures will make you less of a commodity and potentially reduce inroads by large radiology corporations such as Imaging Advantage
To do "light IR", would you just try to improve that skillset by focusing on it in residency? Would a "mini-fellowship" in IR improve your marketability in that regard?